Feminist Theory and the Question of Lesbian and Gay Marriage

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Gender and Women's Studies


In this article, I explore the question of lesbian and gay marriage through the lens of feminist theory, first delineating briefly the feminist critique of marriage as articulated historically and contemporarily. I then argue why it is necessary for gays and lesbians to press for the right to marry: the second-class citizenship created by the state’s differential treatment of gays and lesbians, I contend, is no position from which to launch a viable challenge to the status quo. I intend here to enrich the theoretical debate with practical considerations of the meaning of inequality, and to enhance the social movement for lesbian and gay rights with ideological insights from the feminist struggle. I write as a feminist, a lesbian, and a thinker deeply concerned with the meanings of liberation on multiple fronts.

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Feminism & Psychology